DEEP: DEP Says CT Moose Population Growing And Young Moose Roaming This Time of Year

April 30, 2010
 
DEP Says CT Moose Population Growing And Young Moose Roaming This Time of Year
Motorists advised to drive with care in areas with sightings

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says the state has a healthy and growing moose population and advises that motorists should be extra careful when driving at night.

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, "The presence of moose in Connecticut speaks to the overall health of our environment and the plentiful woodlands in our relatively small state. Standing up to six feet tall and weighing up to 1,400 pounds, young adult moose frequently wander long distances to establish their own territory. When they move into populated areas and onto busy roadways, moose pose a unique threat to public safety."

"Motorists and their passengers involved in an accident with a moose often suffer serious and even fatal injuries. Although less likely to result in a fatality, accidents involving deer are much more common and can also cause costly property damage and serious injury," Marrella said. "DEP urges all drivers to be aware that moose and deer may wander onto Connecticut’s highways. As a result, it is especially important to be alert when driving at dusk and at night when deer and moose are most active."

Since mid-April alone, moose sightings have been reported in the western Connecticut towns of Litchfield and Granby. More recently moose have been reported in several eastern Connecticut towns, including Ellington, Tolland, Bolton and Marlborough, all thought to be the same moose. It is expected that this moose will continue traveling south possibly reaching I-95 by the weekend.

This past fall, there were two accidents involving cars hitting moose: one in Danbury in September and one in Windsor in November. Neither accident resulted in a fatality. In September, DEP also tranquilized and relocated a moose that was wandering close to I-84 in Southbury.

DEP requests that anyone observing a moose in an urban area or southern Connecticut contact DEP emergency dispatch at 860-424-3333. All other sightings should be reported to the DEP Wildlife Division by phone (860-642-7239), email (Andrew.Labonte@ct.gov), or on the internet (www.depdata.ct.gov/wildlife/sighting/mooserpt.htm). Information about sightings helps the agency track the size and range of the moose population.

Public reports of moose have increased from just a few per year in the 1970’s to almost 120 per year in 2009. Based on observations of adult moose with calves, DEP Wildlife experts now believe moose have become year-round residents in Connecticut with a population of about one hundred. Most moose are found in the northwest and northeast corners of the state. As the population grows, however, the population spreads out and young moose that are dispersing into new territories during spring have been known to travel greater than five miles per day and sometimes as far as eighty miles in a month. This means moose will continue to expand southward into populated areas where vehicle traffic density is much higher. As a result, the likelihood of hitting a moose on Connecticut roadways is expected to increase in southern portions of the state.

DEP offers the following advice for driving in moose country:

  • Stay alert, especially around dawn, dusk and after dark when moose are most active. Because moose are six feet tall at the shoulders, your headlights typically will not show any "eye shine" from a moose.
  • Use caution during spring (May-July) and fall (September-November). During these months, moose travel greater distances while dispersing and seeking mates.
  • Driving within the posted speed limit will lessen the severity of an accident if you do collide with a moose or deer.
  • Use high beams whenever possible to improve visibility and always wear your seat belt.

    See charts below for additional statistical information.

    See the Moose web page for additional information.

Total public and hunter moose sightings and moose vehicle accidents (MVA) in Connecticut, USA 1992–2009.
 
 
{Total Moose Sightings}
*MVA not included with totals for each year.
 
 
 Distribution of moose sightings reported by the public in Connecticut, 1992–1999.
{Moose Sightings 1992-1999}
 
 
 Distribution of moose sightings reported by public in Connecticut, 2000–2009.
 
{Moose sightings}